The biggest question surrounding the Arizona Coyotes’ off-season plans is whether or not they will be able to bring back impending UFA Taylor Hall.
Hall has been a reliable and consistent member of the Coyotes since arriving in the blockbuster trade from the New Jersey Devils, contributing ten goals and 27 total points in 35 regular-season games in the desert.
His season total of 52 points (16 goals, 36 assists) is a far cry from his Hart Trophy campaign in 2017/18, where he fell just shy of 40 goals with 39 and had 92 total points in 76 games.
With his contract expiring at the end of this season, Hall was expected to be looking at receiving a big payday. But with how things have gone for him this season, it may be difficult to imagine him earning too much more than his current $6 million annual salary.
Over an 82-game season, Hall is on pace for around 65/66 total points, respectable numbers that would have ranked as his third-highest single-season total across his career, but not enough to earn money on par with some of the top earners in the league, something that he would’ve almost have been guaranteed just two years earlier.
Does this mean that the Arizona Coyotes might be able to persuade him to return to the desert long-term next season? Perhaps not, but there might be a solution to this situation that could benefit both the organization as well as Hall, all being well.
Hall may not have the greatest bargaining power with other teams in the NHL right now, but he certainly does where the Coyotes are concerned.
It’s possible he would prefer to move to another team beyond this season, but his options may be limited with the money he could be hoping to earn, mostly for past achievements.
If the market isn’t there for him long-term, perhaps a short-term stay in the desert could be a way of benefitting his desires to earn a long-term, higher-pay contract elsewhere, while giving the Coyotes another year of his offensive talents.
A one-year deal paying him over $7 million could work, with Hall having a pre-season with his Coyotes teammates and the coaching staff to truly try to maximize his potential with the team next season.
A strong campaign with Hall at the forefront would obviously interest the Coyotes organization and could even help them work towards finally reaching the playoffs after so many years of missing out.
A successful year in the desert would undoubtedly open up the market for Hall, who turns 29 in November and will realistically have one last chance at earning a long-term deal in the NHL.
This is where it may be difficult to convince Hall to agree to such a deal, with most players seeking long-term security in their contract negotiations. For the Calgary, Alberta native, it may come down to a question of money or term, whether or not he’d be willing to sacrifice one more year to try and earn an improved deal.
If he’s happy for settling for less over a longer period, it’s likely his time in the desert is over, but if he is determined to prove he is still the Hart-worthy player of two years ago, then a short-term option with the Arizona Coyotes could be the way to go.